While I am certainly no expert in this department, teaching a child to speed read seems the next step after a child is fluently reading. There are lots of great tools to teach older children and adults to speed read, but none of them seem to be suitable for a young child. I believe that this is a missed opportunity. Not only could speed reading exercises improve reading fluency in young children, it could also expand new vocabulary in a more efficient manner.
The one exercise that is very popular for adults is to take a text that one is reading and have one word of the text flashed at a time. It is called Flash Reading. I have used this method on myself, and I have found with regular practice I could easily increase my speed by 100-300 words depending on the difficulty of the text. After flashing one word at a time, you would then increase it to two words at a time. Then you continue to increase how many words are flashed at a time.
For young children, I found most of the software starts off too fast, and the text is usually for older adults. With a couple of tips from another early learning parent, I was able to take favorite books in our home and turn them into fun speed reading exercises that entertain and delight my children. They have been a hit at home.
Today, I am going to share with you, our first in a series of Speeding Reading videos that I am able to share with your family, Peter Rabbit. The story and pictures are in the public domain, and since it’s a beloved story by so many, it seems to be a perfect story for speeding reading.
I inserted the pictures found in the story as you would find them in the traditional story, so sometimes there is a picture every two sentences while others are ever four sentences. The video seems long but I found all my children focus intently on the video, and I will honestly tell you I have an active bunch of wiggle worms.
The speed of the video is such that a fluent reading adult should be able to read the story aloud to their children. There is no voice over in this video as I think it best for the parent to read this video. After many times of you reading this story to your child through the video, then you can certainly allow the child to read it aloud or in their mind. It is more comfortable to read this in your mind, so feel encouraged to let your child do this instead of reading it aloud.
If you are looking for something similar for yourself or maybe an older child, check out this website that offers this flashing word ability for free. It is completely customizable so that you can modify the speed and number of words flashing. You can copy and paste any text that you like into the app to be flashed. Check it out HERE.
There are also great apps for the iPad.
Speed Reading Tutor app is the most inexpensive app. It provides you two of the simplest tools for speed reading training, word flashing plus scroll training. What you won’t find is the ability to flash more than one word at a time like in the website app linked above. Almost all the stories are not really for young children either which is why I have started creating these videos.
Speed Reading Tutor Full Ivy Standard $1.99 (There is also a free version. Just look in the related folders tab on iTunes.)
Acceleread is a more expensive app, but you are getting a lot considering what many are charging for their speed reading software online. You get a customizable word flash that allows you to adjust the number of words flashing. The Diamond Highlighter feature uses the scrolling technique but highlights one line of the text to help you focus and follow along easier while increasing your speed.
There are three more features that help to advance your speed reading ability. They include the column highlighter, hopscotch, and sight stretcher. The app is extensive, and they have a free version that you can check out. Be sure to check out The Science section as it highlights some of the science behind the speed reading. You will also find it has a guided course where they personalize sessions based on the results of the speed reading test that you take.
Acceleread Speed Reading Trainer BananaBox Inc.
The next app, Flash Reader, lets you read emails, blogs, and any text you can copy and paste. There is also a feature that lets you sink your Dropbox. I have a ton of PDFs that I would love to read through sitting in my Dropbox, but where is the time? I am hoping this app will help me to fly through those. When I get a chance, I will let you know how it works through Twitter. Be sure to tweet me if it works out for you.
Flash Reader Didstopia
Alright, so below is my first Speed Reading video for young children, and every couple of week, I hope to come out with a new one from Beatrix Potters long list of children’s books.
Here are some tips for using this video:
- Practice reading it aloud before reading it to your children especially if you are not familiar with the story. It may seem fast at first, but after a few reads, you will find you can read this story in a nice natural flow.
- Read this video to your child during a quiet, relaxed time of day. Reading this requires a lot of focus. If you lose your place in the text, just pick up where you can and don’t get frustrated. You want your child to see this as an enjoyable exercise, and that its okay to lose your place. It really is part of the process.
- After a few weeks or so showing the video to a young child, allow them the opportunity to try reading the text in their mind. I wouldn’t pressure them to read it allowed unless you feel the child is comfortable with the task.
I should note that I show this to all my children from ages 2 to 9 years old. They all enjoy this style of reading and the fun pictures found throughout the stories help to captivate their attention.
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